I found out today that one of my USC classmates passed away a couple of days ago due to a seizure. I had just met with him earlier in the year to talk about a project. Over lunch we spoke of our funny moments at USC, his passion for traveling, how much he loved his wife and adored his amazingly sweet dog, and his zest for life.

At only 39, Joel’s life was cut way too short. I so feel for his wife and what she is going through. I know first hand how difficult it is to say goodbye to someone who means the world to you. My thoughts and prayers go out to her.

Having just heard of this a few hours ago, I can’t help but be reminded of the preciousness of the moment. We often think we will live until we are old and gray…but this isn’t always true. This makes me ask…”what does it mean to truly live?” I think Joel would say that its about giving each moment everything you’ve got.

I have learned from Joel’s life and his passing the value of…
– Following one’s passions and dreams…he did so with everything he had.
– Being oh so very real. Joel always dared to be himself.
– Telling people we love how valuable they are.
– Realizing that the future is today…not tomorrow.

Joel, it hasn’t really sunk in that you are no longer on this planet, but I hope you know how honored I was to have you as a classmate and friend at USC. In tribute to you, I will go forward from this day making the most of each moment and living in the knowledge that life is so very short and precious.

– Jen Engevik